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Ekweremadu: Why Northerners Fear Restructuring

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By: Segun Lawal

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has urged proponents of restructuring to engage northern leaders so as to assure them of the benefits that await them if the nation is properly ‘restructured’.

He said the northerners fear that if the country gets restructured, the oil revenue generated from the south ”would no longer get to them”.

Restructuring, in recent times has been the major focus in Nigeria’s political space, with many politicians taking diverse, usually opposing positions.

Ekweremadu, in an interview, said restructuring must be adopted if the country wants to move forward.

He explained the need to engage leaders and stakeholders, ”including the ordinary citizens in the north on the importance of restructuring.”

”The issue of restructuring is something I think we must have to do if we want this country to move forward,” he said. Unfortunately, we have not been able to do that. We are just taking it that everybody is on the same page with us on it which is not true.”

He said more parleys need to be held between northern and southern leaders to reach a consensus on the thorny issue.

”We need to sit down and explain with the leaders in the north and then including the ordinary people,” he said. ”Especially about how it would benefit everybody because for me there is something in it for everybody. What they think is that the oil revenue would not come to the north any longer; that is what they understand as restructuring.”

He also explained that not every state is equally endowed in terms of resources, adding that the leaders of the country must cater for every citizen equally,

He suggested the country adopt the Canadian government policy of ”Equalisation Fund” which helps states deal with their resources and also allows them pay tax to the government.

He explained the Canadian government uses the revenue generated from the tax collected from states to help build physical infrastructures such as schools and hospitals.

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party chieftain noted that if the concept of restructuring is ”not properly explained to the northern leaders, they would never buy into the idea of restructuring the country”.

”In every system, people cannot be endowed equally. Look at the fingers, they are not equal. The society is not equal but as leaders you must take care of both the big and the small.

”So if you are talking about restructuring and you are not telling them how you are going to take care of those who are less endowed of course they are going to oppose you,” he said.

”If we have that kind of system (Canadian) and the people are sure that whether they have oil or not they will still be able to go to school and have access to security and other facilities, with all that explanation, yes, they would be able to listen to you,” he added.

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PHOTOSNEWS: BUHARI, ATIKU SIGNS NATIONAL PEACE ACCORD

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Election: Lagos Speaker, Agege APC Leaders Take Campaign To Community Leaders, Market Men/Women, Artisans

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As the nation prepares for the general elections starting on Saturday, 16 February, 2019, the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa and leaders of the All Progressives Congress  (APC) in Agege Federal Constituency have embarked on a campaign tour of all the wards in the Agege Federal Constituency covering Agege Local Government and Orile Agege Local Council Development Area (LCDA).
The tour which kicked off on Friday, 8 February will end on Thursday, 14 February and is meant to sensitise the people on not only voting during the coming election but also voting right.
During the tour so far, the Speaker and other APC leaders have been educating the people on the need to use their middle finger to thumb-print rather than using the thumb.
“The reason for this is simple: there are many political parties now on the ballot paper and the space provided for thumb-printing is very small. If you use your to thumb-print, it may spill over to the next space thereby invalidating your vote. So use your middle finger to vote,” the Speaker told the Ebira community during one of the visits.
Rt. Hon. Obasa and his team has also not forgotten to remind the people on the need to vote for all the candidates of the APC, reminding them that it is the only party that can serve their interest.
“For us in Agege Federal Constituency in particular, we must ensure that we vote for APC candidates. Since the community produced the Speaker in 2015, I can with all sense of modesty claim that the community has witnessed tremendous development in terms of socio-economic development.
“So this is not about the individual called Mudashiru Obasa but about the development and growth of this community called Agege,” he told the youth associations of Wards D and E of Orile Agege LCDA when he met with them Sunday.
As at Monday, the Lagos Speaker and his team have met with leaders of south south community in Agege, the Nupe community in Agege, the Ebira community, various youth and community development associations in the area, the tailor association, the artisans, the tyre dealers association, the hairdressers association and okada riders association.
Apart from Rt. Hon. Obasa, leaders on the entourage inckude: member, representing the Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon Taofeek Abiodun Adaranijo; member, representing Agege Constituency 2 in the state House of Assembly, Hon Oluyinka Ogundimu; APC candidate for House of Representatives, Dr Samuel Adejare; former Commissioner for Transport in the state, Comrade Kayode Opeifa; the two council Chairmen: Hon Ganiyu Kola Egunjobi, Agege LG; and Hon Johnson Sunday Babatunde, Orile Agege LCDA; and many others.
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We Stand with Ohanaeze, Afenifere NEF, others on Atiku – Groups

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By: Jude Ndukwe

Different groups from major regional blocs in the country have come together under the auspices of Joint Progressive Action Group (JPAG) to declare support for the leading socio-cultural groups which recently met in Abuja and endorsed the candidature of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the PDP.

JPAG which stated this in a press statement jointly signed by Chief Kola Adepoju for the Yoruba Alliance Group (JAG), Alhaji Abdullahi Shehu for the Arewa Renewal Mandate Group (ARMG), Chief Obioma Okereafor for Southeast Progressive Union (SEPU), Apostle Horyen Pwajok for the Middle Belt Coalition for Progress (MBCP) and James Ekpenyong for the Niger Delta Restoration Forum (NDRF), and released to the media on Tuesday, February 5, said its decision to back the five foremost groups on their endorsement of Atiku was “predicated on the parlous situation which the country has found itself and for which there must be an urgent change of government at the polls on February 16 before the situation becomes totally irredeemable.

“It will be unreasonable for us to ignore the very obvious dangerous signs of a failing nation staring us in the face in the name of ethnicity or religion and watch our nation collapse on us”, it stated.

The Group also went further to say that “Buhari’s deficiencies in governance which have sharply divided our nation along mundane lines cannot be allowed to continue. It is time for every Nigerian of goodwill and good conscience to rise up and do the needful on February 16 to ensure that this charade of a political process is quickly brought to an end.

“It is in view of this that we lend our voices to the recent endorsement of Atiku by the Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Northern Elders Forum, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the Pan Niger Delta Forum. We are very much convinced beyond any iota of doubt that this is the right step to take for the sake of our nation and posterity”, the statement concluded.

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